News From Our Churches

Professor Herman Hanko, now teaching in our Seminary, has declined his call to become pastor of First Church in Grand Rapids. Our church in Randolph, Wisconsin, has extended a call to Candidate Kenneth Koole. Rev. Ronald VanOverloop, pastor of Hope Church in Walker, Michigan, has accepted the request of our Synodical Committee for Contact with Other Churches to labor in Christchurch, New Zealand for a period of nine or ten months. Permission for this rather special ‘loan’ of their pastor has been granted by the Hope Church Council. Rev. VanOverloop and his family plan to leave for New Zealand in early December. 

First Church bid their pastor and his family farewell on October 28 with a short program and a reception afterward (with the customary coffee and refreshments). Rev. VanBaren was presented with gifts of a grandfather clock and a check. In his remarks, Rev. VanBaren said that he had often been asked how many baptisms he had performed, how many marriages, etc. He thought the farewell program an appropriate time to reveal the list. During his twelve years as pastor of First Church, Rev. VanBaren performed 33 marriages, 101 baptisms, heard 94 confessions of faith, and preached 64 funeral sermons. 

Rev. VanBaren was installed as pastor of our Hudsonville Church on November 6. On November 1 Hudsonville scheduled an appreciation program for Rev. Cornelius Hanko, who had been serving as their pastor, but who has recently been retired from the pastorate. Rev. Hanko has hardly ‘retired’ in the complete sense of the word, however. He continues to preach and write and also is teaching part time in our Seminary. Rev. Hanko plans to continue living in the Hudsonville area. 

The undersigned has always considered some of Rev. Hanko’s bulletin announcements “just a little bit special.” For example with the announcement of an upcoming marriage, this was added: “As this couple sets out on the sea of matrimony may Christ be their Pilot, His Word their compass, their goal the Haven of Rest.” 

In addition to the Reformation Day lecture sponsored by our Churches in the Michigan area, several other observances of this day were scheduled in other of our churches. The South Holland, Illinois, Church Men’s Society sponsored a lecture by Rev. John Heys of Holland, Michigan, on the topic “The Splitting and Splintering in Modem Protestantism.” Our church in Isabel, South Dakota, sponsored a lecture by their pastor, Rev. Rodney Miersma, on the theme “The Reformation and The Holy Scriptures.” Rev. Wayne Bekkering, pastor of our church in Houston, Texas, lectured on “The Reformation—A Deliverance From Bondage.” In Loveland, Colorado, Rev. George Lanting lectured on “The Reformation and Its Significance for Today.” A lecture was also scheduled in northwest Iowa, and quite likely in other places but about which no word has yet been received. 

The Houston bulletin carried a note that our Synodical Mission Committee is preparing to send emissaries to Jamaica to aid the saints on that island as soon as possible. 

Some of the special meeting and programs held in our churches during the Fall season included the following: The Western Ladies’ League met in Edgerton, Minnesota, on November 1. Rev. Slopsema spoke on “Contentment Linked With Godliness,” from I Timothy 6:6-8. On November 10, the staff and student bodies of our Christian Schools in Edgerton, Hull, and Doon met for a combined chapel service in Hull. The Mr. and Mrs. Societies League Mass Meeting was held in Hudsonville on October 18. Rev. C. Hanko gave an excellent and thought-provoking speech on “The Spiritual Life of the Family.” Rev. Hanko also spoke for the Classis East Office Bearers Conference on October 4. His topic was “Christian Liberty; Its Use in Our Churches.” Combined Mens’ and Ladies’ League Mass Meeting was held in Hope Church on October 11, Rev. H. Veldman spoke on “The Coming of Anti-Christ.” The Sunday School Teachers Fall Mass Meeting was held on October 3 in First Church. Rev. G. VanBaren spoke on “Faithfulness to The Word.” 

Occasionally rather “down to earth,” or should we say “up on the ceiling” announcements appear in the various bulletins. Here are a couple examples: “Tomorrow evening we will have our annual fall church cleaning. Please bring mops, buckets, ladders, or whatever you feel is necessary. Many hands make light and enjoyable work.” That from Isabel. “Volunteer help and trucks are needed to haul the newly purchased seats (for the Loveland Church auditorium) from Arvada on Monday evening, October 31.”